Santa Barbara Education Foundation Summer Music Camps Hit the High Notes

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation celebrates the ongoing success of its annual summer music camps, which continue to inspire and educate local young musicians. These well-established programs foster a growing interest in playing music among Santa Barbara youth and have achieved record enrollment this year.

Nick Rail Summer Band Camp, the most well-known and established camp, has taught Santa Barbara’s young aspiring musicians since 1989. This year, the camp welcomes Karl Hunter, the saxophonist from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, as a special guest teacher.

Additionally, the String Camp, now in its seventh year, the Drumline Camp, now in its sixth year, and the Sound Waves Music and Movement Camp continue to provide a variety of affordable musical learning opportunities for budding young musicians.

All camp directors are also Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) music teachers who showcase their dedication and love for music education by extending their commitment to teaching into the summer months. Their passion and dedication provide a fun and encouraging learning environment for students beyond the school year.

Many of these same dedicated music teachers spend their after-school hours as instructors for another SBEF fiscally sponsored program called Bravo!, which provides free after-school band practice to 4th through 6th grade students. After a one-year hiatus, Bravo! made a remarkable comeback in 2022 and contributed to the growing interest in music among students, which has helped bolster this year’s camp enrollment.

La Colina Junior High School instrumental music teacher Stephen Hughes remarked, “The Nick Rail Summer Band Camp, String Camp, Drumline Camp, and Sound Waves allow students to grow, learn, and make friends through the summer in fun, supportive environments. Many students return year after year to their preferred camp and look forward to it each summer as the school year winds down. These passionate students continue their music development into the summer and come back stronger in the fall, having experienced fun music and made wonderful memories.”

Holly Burnicki’s son Hunter has attended the Nick Rail Summer Band Camp for two years. “We are grateful for this opportunity to continue his journey in music,” said Burnicki. “He has made friends, gained confidence, and received top-notch instruction. We are truly appreciative and thankful for this program made possible by the Santa Barbara Education Foundation.”

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation has made these camps financially accessible to the entire community through dedicated fundraising efforts. Interested students are encouraged to apply for camp scholarships, which are granted on a need basis.

Upcoming final concerts will showcase the culmination of these enriching experiences. The String Camp will hold its concert on Friday, June 28, at 11:30 a.m. at La Colina High School, followed by the Drumline Camp concert at 3:30 p.m. The Nick Rail Band Camp concert will occur on Wednesday, July 3, at 6 p.m. at Santa Barbara Junior High School.

Founded in 1985, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation promotes private support of Santa Barbara’s public education system, serving over 12,500 students in 21 schools. For more information, visit santabarbaraeducation.org.

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